Votes should be recounted: ACDP

By Drum Digital
10 May 2014

The ACDP says votes should be recounted because signatures are missing on result sheets.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has lodged a complaint to IEC that could put a halt to todays much anticipated election result ceremony. The event which is predicted by party leaders to be a glitzy evening filled with champagne and celebratory cheer could be delayed if the IEC upholds the ACDP’s objection and do a recount.

ACDP’s IT manager, Brendon Govender, has identified some glitches in some of the result slips which are reviewed by IEC’s independent auditors. “We found that some of the slips that were uploaded on to the system returned with no signatures to verify  the votes,” he explains. Some slips he discovered had the same signatory appearing multiple times.

According to Govender, there should be various signatories to verify results for each polling station, with the resounding signature by the presiding officer.

Govender says he first became aware of this when results returned from Khayelihle Primary School in Vosloorus,  Johannesburg, which he considers to be one of their strong holds.

“Our president, Kenneth Meshoe, has a church in the area with a strong following,” he says.

He was surprised to discover that they had received 46 national votes from that voting station and zero for provincial. “It seems incredibly odd and almost impossible, in the past we did well in that area” he adds.

With the addition of missing signatures he wonders how that could have been overlooked by IEC’s independent auditors. “We consulted this issue with the EFF who had their own party agents at the venue. They discovered that we received a number of 52 votes,” he explains.

Govender futher explains that the stationary included in each election pack: ballot papers, a result sheet and a section 24 A form. “When the EFF consulted the presiding officer to query about the result sheet, it was discovered that it was not in the pack, and was found at later stage,” he says.

The ACDP has now lodged an objection with the IEC so that the results from the Gauteng province cannot be declared. “We believe that if the objection is upheld that a recount would be done,” says Govender.

Currently, the ACDP has one seat in the province. “There is good possibility that we might have lost it and we might no longer have a voice in the provincial legislature,” he adds.

In terms of section 55 of the elections act and regulation, objections material to the determination of final results must be launched within 24 hours after voting day. The IEC has an obligation to investigate the objection and decide whether to dismiss or uphold it.

IEC’s legal services say it is up to the commission to determine if the objection is substantial enough to delay the final results and constitute a recount.

With an objection to 52 votes, this might prove insignificant a number to postpone the process. However, any decision by the IEC can be objected and the matter could be appealed to the electoral court.

Govender says the number of votes is not the agenda, but an ethical one. “We are questioning the reputation of the auditors. It is only ethical to investigate the matter.”

- Ayanda Sitole

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